Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) has awarded a “provisional” mandate to multinational law firm Hogan Lovells for the state-owned oil company’s debt restructuring and refinancing, according to a source close to the matter and two sources familiar with the matter. Venezuelan government officials said on Monday the government is being advised by a team of “top lawyers” that have been working on a plan for several months.
Hogan Lovells and Ohio-based international law firm Squire Patton Boggs sent groups of lawyers to Caracas this week, the first source familiar said. It is unclear, however, what Squire Patton’s role, if any, will be in PdVSA’s or Venezuela’s debt restructuring or refinancing plans, according to the source, a Caracas-based lawyer specializing in oil and gas.
“Hogan has worked with PdVSA for 10 years, but Squire’s role is unclear,” said the source.
US law firms seeking to work with Venezuela or PdVSA must request a license from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), according to a third source familiar with the matter. Hogan has likely requested a three-month license from OFAC to continue working with PdVSA debt, the third source said. OFAC did not return calls seeking comment regarding protocols for US-based law firms working with Venezuela or PdVSA officials.
A special committee, led by the country’s vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, is overseeing the restructuring of the sovereign and PdVSA debt. Dentons has been hired to work with Venezuela’s debt restructuring and refinancing, as reported.
Hogan has advised PdVSA on various multi-billion dollar bond issuances, loans and oil-backed prepayment financings, according to the firm’s website.
A media representative from Hogan Lovells did not immediately respond to a request for comment.